From the Preacher’s Pen… Comprehension! There’s a nice big word. Years ago, there was a cute commercial that pictured a little girl saying that she did not like reading comprehension! Yes, it takes some work, some effort to understand what you are reading. But that is what turns reading into learning. Let’s look at a short lesson from God’s word that reminds us of the richness of God’s words.
The Lord Our Shield
It is easy for us to miss some of the Lord’s blessings when we fail to take the time to seriously study the things He tells us. Never just read the Bible! Just like a child in school, reading is important but only as a means to comprehension and learning. If you know all the words but miss the lesson they teach, you’ve missed out on the most valuable part.
One of the words used repeatedly in Scripture (some 80 times between Old and New Testaments) is shield. Yes, the primary meaning in the Bible is referring to a specific piece of ancient battle gear. Seldom do we imagine a need for such antique relics in the modern world but pause just a moment and think again.
In countless ways, we have and use shields in daily life. If you’ve ever seen police officers in riot gear, you may also have even seen a modern version of the ancient battle shields. If you get into your car and begin driving where you are facing almost directly into the sun you will probably do a couple of things. First, you may put on your sunglasses. These are actually small eye-shields to darken the bright light and protect your eyes. Second, you will probably pull down the sun-visor: a shield to block the sun from your eyes. And then when you park your car outside in the summer you will probably put a sun-shield or sun-shade in the front window of your vehicle to keep it cooler.
The purpose of a shield is to… well, to shield, to protect someone or something. Terrorists and other criminals often use women and children as human shields to protect their own lives. And American military and rescue personnel frequently use their own bodies to protect the innocent.
Think about a few of the many descriptions of our God shielding us. The first time the word shield is used in the Bible is when Abraham battled the armies of the northern kings to rescue Lot. We don’t often think about it, but Abraham must have owned a lot of military battle gear to equip over 300 men of his own household (cf. Genesis 14:14). As Abraham victoriously returns from the battle the Lord reminds him of two things. First, that the Lord is his shield (pretty impressive protection in battle, isn’t it?) and second, that the Lord is his great reward (Genesis 15:1). That leads to the promise of both the coming son of Abraham and that his descendants would number like the countless stars in the sky.
David would later count the Lord as his shield and his glory (Psalm 3:3). Over 20 times in the Psalms David would remember the powerful and protective shield that was his God (Psalm 3:3; 5:12; 7:10; 18:2, 30, 35; 28:7; 33:20; 35:2; 47:9; 59:11; 76:3; 84:9, 11; 89:18; 91:4; 115:9–11; 119:114; 144:2). As an old soldier who had survived so many battles and threats to his life, he was proud of the always-reliable protection that came from the Lord.
In Psalm 18:30 David states our lesson perfectly: As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. The promises of God are not limited to just Abraham and David. The God who protects and blesses is our Heavenly Father that loved us so much that He gave His son to die for us.
Given how well the Apostle Paul knew and loved the Old Testament Scriptures we should get a better appreciation of his lesson in Ephesians 6:16: in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Our shield of faith is the shield of God. Not just made by God and not just some nebulous trust in a distant, unseen God, but the absolute trust, the real faith of being protected, shielded by the living Lord God our father!
Yes, the Lord is our shield, our protector, always dependable, always looking to turn the worst battle and most desperate circumstances from loss to blessing. David (Psalm 57:2) would say, I will cry to God Most High, To God who accomplishes all things for me. And Paul would remind us that the same lesson still holds true: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Never forget, if we belong to the Lord, He is there to protect and bless us always!
— Lester P. Bagley